Friday, February 4, 2011

Bengals Play Arena Ball

The reaction to Jay Gruden coming to save the Bengals offense is lukewarm, at best.  I like the move.  Maybe he wasn't my first choice, but he is a guy I find very intriguing.  It's easy to take swipes at Gruden.  He doesn't have the track record most NFL coordinators but he does have a knack for being around winning teams.  Albeit mostly in the Arena Football League.  But at least this is a new brain and a new sets of eyes that have seen things done in different ways.  It's not a recycled guy with close ties to the Bengals.  Marvin Lewis indicated Gruden is a take-charge kind of coach like defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.  He needs to be just that and willing to tell the rest of the offensive staff that things will be coached his way.   I'm skeptical that he'll have the means blow out some coaches who don't buy in.  If he doesn't, then it wouldn't matter who they hire.  He needs to have plenty of authority and Marvin indicated he will have it. We'll see.  But I see Gruden able to draw upon lessons learned, whether it be with Howard Schnellenberger at Louisville, his brother Jon in the NFL, or under his own watch in the AFL.  He has a 93-61 record as a head coach in the AFL, so he was doing something right.  The Gruden hire is by no means a home run, at least not yet. It is a move to go in another direction.  It's up to Gruden to prove it is the right direction.

I shouldn't be so stunned that Xavier lost at Charlotte, but I am.  For years in Conference USA that place was a snake pit for U.C.  Conference road games can be a bear.  I could see the games at Duquesne and Dayton becoming stumbling blocks.  But Charlotte?  That was a bad loss for the Musketeers.

U.C. is up against it Saturday against Pitt.  The Bearcats have lost six of their last seven against Pitt, and haven't won a game at Pittsburgh since joining the Big East.  I wish I had better news for Bearcat fans but I've seen nothing since the Big East schedule started that leads me to believe the Cats will be stealing a big win on the road Saturday.  I'm still looking at 9-9 in the Big East.  The could make it to 10, but I'm more convinced of 9 wins in the conference.  Then it will take a win, perhaps two, in the Big East Tourney to get them in the dance.

One last thing about the Reds Caravan and how the Reds continue to win the fans over.  If you were in line for an autograph and were unable to get one because the caravan had to pull out, you were given a voucher for a free ticket at a Reds game for the upcoming season.  Nice.

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